The Buffalo Sabres have not won a game in the 2015 calendar year, but all eyes are on the future, as the rebuild continues. A string of injuries and poor performances by the Sabres’ veterans opened up opportunities for some of the organization’s top AHL players to showcase their skill in the big leagues, and although the results have been mixed, generally speaking the franchise is in good shape for the future.
The drama last winter in Sweden at the 2014 World Junior Championship could hardly be topped. Playing at home in front of crowds sized larger than 12,500 per game, Team Sweden defeated one opponent after another with a literal dream team of U20 athletes. Then they faced the tourney’s upstart team, and their archrival, Finland and it seemed the stars were aligned for a victory parade that few Swedish junior teams had ever topped. Winning the WJC in their home country would have been a story ripe for Hollywood. Read more»
Once the Buffalo Sabres are done collecting their puzzle pieces, it will be a matter of figuring out how they will all fit together. The Sabres have the cornerstones in place with Sam Reinhart at center and Rasmus Ristolainen on defense, but the short-term focus is to make sure that every prospect in the organization takes a step forward.
If based on the sheer size of the league and the types of contracts that can be handed out, as well as what is clearly a generally outstanding level of ice hockey, most will tell you that the KHL is the best hockey league in Europe. Still, you’ll find many who’ll say there’s no better level of hockey combining pure, proven international competitiveness and the ability to integrate and foster young, excellent talent than in Sweden’s SHL. Read more»
At the midpoint of the first period in the USA’s first post-cutdown game at the 2014 National Junior Evaluation Camp, Team USA defenseman Michael Downing took a pass from University of Michigan teammate J.T. Compher and fired a point shot past Sweden goaltender Jonas Johansson to score the opening goal in what would be a 7-1 romp for the U.S. squad. Read more»